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How Important is a Healthy Lifestyle

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The Best Investment You Can Make: Taking Care of Your Health

After years of avoiding the inevitable, I caved. I finally took matters into my own hands and decided it was my time for me to adopt a healthier lifestyle. I know, I know. These days everyone seems to be on a health kick. In fact, its so common I could picture you rolling your eyes at me when you got to the end of that second sentence. But I came to this decision on my own terms and maybe my journey can motivate some of you all who might also be putting it off.

So why did I avoid it for so long? There are so many answers I and many others can give to that question.
● Eating healthy is more expensive and my pocket does not need a deeper dent.

● Live a life without regularly feeding my body pizza? burgers? fries? ice cream? That’s impossible! Is that even living?


● Spend 15 minutes in the morning to pack my lunch? I’ll hit the snooze button and enjoy the stellar view of the inside of eyelid a little longer.

● Gym? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

● Sweat? Pass.

I wasn’t ready or motivated to make an extra effort every day. I was perfectly aware that I needed to not just lose weight but adopt a healthier way of living overall. Being winded going up one flight of stairs is no fun and it makes no one feel better about themselves. It didn’t help that I had my family reminding (nagging) me of it every possible day. In fact, their constant reminders and not so subtle hints were not only annoying (and most of the time ridiculously insulting) but it was NOT motivating. It made me want to do the complete opposite of what they wanted me to do. And then I got my wake up call.

After having some blood work done, the doctor asked that I come in for a follow up. That was the first sign of trouble, follow-ups are not typically a good thing as I would soon find out. I won’t go into details about the meeting but it ended with my usually goofy doctor changing his demeanor and stating that he was going to have “a 21-year old patient die of a heart attack.” This is not an exaggeration. Those were his exact words and they had my full attention.

Since then I’ve been on a on- and off-again journey to improve those results and my health (and prove my doctor wrong which of course is exactly what he wants). I’ve tried it all; diet and exercise, juicing, not eating after a certain time, ditching the bread, running, fitness classes. You name it and I’m sure I’ve done a version of it.


The problem is that I always wanted results right away or as my favorite phrase goes I wanted results “like 5 minutes ago.” I would lose interest pretty quickly if I didn’t see changes. But a little timing and a reevaluating my perceived sense of success has helped me come a long way.

As much as I have always wanted to lose weight, as much as my meeting with my doctor scared me, it wasn’t until recently where I decided “this is my time.” I fully believe that anyone is capable of living a healthier lifestyle (or doing anything they set their mind to for that matter), but when YOU are ready to ditch the temporary fixes and find a permanent solution.

Most people would wait until a new year or a time when they have a less hectic schedule to start. I’m here to tell you, that once you set your mind on something, it doesn’t matter if everything else is going wrong in your life, you will make it happen.

I decided to take on a healthy lifestyle challenge with a nutrition and fitness coach at a time where I had a part time job that required at most 12 hours a week. I was scheduled to start the 12-week challenge on January 13th and just 2 days before I got an offer for a full-time position that started the very same day I was beginning my journey. I could’ve very easily decided that these were too many changes, too many adjustments, too soon but nope. This was happening. And I’m proud to say it still is.

Finding the perfect balance between two jobs, a social life, and a healthy life has been difficult, sure. But not impossible, a word I believe we should all delete from the dictionary, along with the word twerk (sorry Miley).

I grew up all my life with the notion that my education was the biggest investment in myself that would turn into lifelong success. And while it is a very important investment, now I know better. As a college student, erratic sleep schedule, an unhealthy diet were sacrifices I was willing to make to make sure I got an A on that final. As a recent college grad reflecting on that, I realize that my health should’ve never come second to school. My health is my biggest investment. This comes first, then everything else.

“Be Yourself; Everyone else is taken.” - Oscar Wilde

Michelle Pretto
University of Central Florida
Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations
Follow me on Twitter @MVPretto

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